The Discreet Bourgeois

Possessed by an urgency to make sure all this stuff I love doesn't just disappear


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The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Dodsworth (William Wyler)
  2. End of Summer (Yasujiro Ozu)
  3. Stromboli  (Roberto Rossellini)
  4. In The Heat Of The Night (Norman Jewison)
  5. The Graduate (Mike Nichols)
  6. Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-wai)
  7. The Bad Seed (Mervyn Leroy)
  8. Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
  9. Across The Pacific (John Huston)
  10. The Plot Thickens (Ben Holmes)

1- It was interesting revisiting In The Heat Of The Night and The Graduate on the same night on TCM. The latter holds up much better. Both are firmly rooted in a 1960s Zeitgeist, but In The Heat Of The Night  achieves a timelessness in the same way The Grapes of Wrath achieves a timelessness while being firmly rooted in the Depression

2- Is it possible that Days of Being Wild is even more exquisite than In The Mood For Love?  Maybe. Sure glad I don’t have to choose between them! The nocturnal, triste love episode between cop Andy Lau and distraught Maggie Cheung is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a long, long time. Xie xie, Wong Kar-wai

3- I always knew about Across The Pacific and wondered why a film with almost the identical creative team as The Maltese Falcon was not more famous.  Finally caught up with it last night and I guess the blatant propaganda of the film’s final half weighs down the sexy fun of the first half.  Still, see it. It’s a hoot.

4- I curse myself for waiting so long to see Holy Motors. I could have been watching it over and over again all these months, successfully convincing myself that it might just be one of the most spectacular things ever committed to celluloid.  But don’t take my word for it.  Please read Michael Glover Smith’s lovely review, nay , his lovely paean to this exquisite work. (I sure wish I could write like this! ) Excuse me. I need to go watch Holy Motors again.

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Why Oscar?

I loved everything about the Academy Awards. When I was younger I memorized the names of all the winners, and dreamed of someday being able to see such mysterious Best Picture winners as Cavalcade or Cimmaron. Thank you TCM for making that dream come true.

Over time I realized that the Oscars were less an unassailable Pantheon of Cinematic Greatness than an amalgam of quirky, ephemeral taste enshrined in awards.  This really hit home to me in 1983 when Gandhi took Best Picture over ET. I remembered thinking at the time ‘People 30 years from now will shake their heads and say ‘What were they thinking?’ ”  I am pretty sure that hardly anyone considers Gandhi more important or a greater cinematic event than ET.  I also hope that people still remember ET

However the point is that Oscars are pointless.

All the pundits and pontificators who weigh the artistic merits of one film or one performance against another are engaged in a fruitless exercise. 12 Years A Slave is no greater than any of the other 8 films nominated. Or at least I should say that it didn’t win because it was greater.  It won because at this time it was the picture to win, for good or ill.  I have no opinion one way or the other.

The only relevant punditry and pontificating re: Oscar is to try to best handicap the way industry insiders are feeling about things, and frankly who cares about that.

So, it is time to bid Oscar Love farewell.  I will probably still try to see all the nominated films next year, but I won’t really care if I don’t.